The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to the release of a final “persuader” rule from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The rule effectively eliminates the “advice exception” under the Labor-Management Reporting Disclosure Act (LMRDA). Historically, under the LMRDA, employers have only been required to report to DOL the engagement of consultants during an organizing campaign if the consultants directly communicate with employees. Consultants who simply provided managers with advice on how to properly communicate with their employees did not trigger such reporting. The persuader rule, however, extends the obligation to report the use of consultants even if the consultant has no direct contact with employees and the employer is free to accept or reject its recommendations.
“The Department of Labor’s rule is designed to discourage employers from taking the reasonable step of hiring outside counsel to ensure that they are complying with labor laws,” said Kelly Kolb, vice president for government affairs. “Labor law is complex and many businesses rely on the support of outside counsel to ensure that their actions during an organizing campaign comply with the morass of rules and regulations. By undermining the advice exception, DOL is putting employers in a no-win situation where seeking the guidance they need will almost certainly be used against them by organizers.”
“RILA will work with lawmakers to reverse this rule and its harmful effects.”
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.